Fifth Annual Arts Experience – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Fifth Annual Arts Experience

A festival celebrating inclusion and the arts returned to the Hobart and William Smith campus this week. The two-week festival runs through Friday, April 11 and invites the HWS community, people with developmental disabilities, and the general public to participate in 26 events which are various means of arts expression. 

“It’s wonderful how much the festival has grown over the last five years,” says Mary Kelly, associate professor of education and Arts Experience Festival steering committee co-chair. “What started as a launch of an issue of the Seneca Review has grown to a two-week festival spanning 17 departments and programs across campus – and involving hundreds of students and community members from around the Finger Lakes.”

The festival provides a rare opportunity for individuals with developmental disabilities and HWS students to meet, work together, and create art side-by-side.

Twenty-six events, including 19 workshops in creative movement and dance, visual arts, music, and performing arts will take place throughout the festival. Lectures and presentations will focus on the topics of HIV/AIDS in the developing world; creation of opportunities for individuals with disabilities through campus/community partnerships through the arts; and disability pride, justice and inclusion, among others.

“For many years, people with an intellectual and developmental disability were excluded from what I know as being a part of my community,” explains Jean D. Jensen, chief strategy officer for Arc of Steubenand Arts Experience Festival steering committee co-chair. “With a focus on community inclusion for all people, the Arts Experience Festival provides the people supported by the agencies of Finger Lakes Collaborative the opportunity to engage in new activities and experiences and meet new people. For many people, it will be the first time they have had an opportunity to visit a college campus, eat in the dining hall, hang out with students and to show off their artistic talent in a setting outside of a segregated program.”

The full schedule is available online. Workshops require registration at All activities are free, accessible and open to the public.

The Arts Experience Festival closes with its signature Gala event on Friday, April 11 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the Café in the Scandling Campus Center.

Festival events are hosted by faculty, staff and students from a number of departments across campus. The festival is a collaboration of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the Collaborative of the Finger Lakes, Inc., a network of 12 NYSARC, Inc. chapters providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Nelson B. Delavan Foundation and the Rochester Area Community Foundation are festival co-sponsors, along with the HWS Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Education Department, Center for Teaching and Learning, Dance Department, and the Global Initiative on Disability, with assistance from the Office of Conference and Events and Building & Grounds.

For more information, contact:, 315-781-4590.

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